I just came home from a long day at work to find my daughter Kamea dutifully colouring a picture with her new sparkly pens from Chapter’s. She was super excited to use them and very much into her drawing when her two-old brother came by and started using them as well.
He leaves the cap off 3 of the makers and I quickly said to her, “Kamea please put the lid back on the markers for Khyam, they will dry out.”
Her response was, “he can do it mama, I do it for him all the time. I am always doing things for him. He can do it. He needs to do it. He needs to learn”
I had a moment and then thought about what she was really saying to me in addition to how she must have been feeling.
Kamea attends school with her brother who recently joined last month and every day I am reminded by her teachers what a fabulous big sister she is because she is always helping out her little brother. In essence, he does not leave her side and she willingly always makes sure he is content.
At that moment, I thought about it more and realized what I was doing as a parent, more specifically how I was raising my little girl versus coddling my little boy Khyam.
Recently at our parent teacher interviews, the feedback we were given about Khyam is that although he is progressing well it would be helpful to give him more tasks where he does stuff on his own. He should be completing household chores etc.
Kamea was sweeping at 2 years old and to this day she always loves to ‘help out’ when she can; but this is something that has been fostered by those around her. So here is what I learned.
1. Self-Reflection: As a parent it is always good to be reminded or self-reflect on how you can improve the development of your child; you can raise your child however you want but you may be promoting or NOT promoting behaviours unintentionally.
2. Listen more + Parent Less: We were so focused on teaching Kamea to be a good sister that we didn’t realize or take into account on how SHE was feeling. Today, she reminded me that she can effectively help me raise both Khyam AND herself.
3. Gender Normatives: Even though I don’t like to admit it my focus with Kamea is to become a strong, independent woman from the time she entered this world. My reaction to having Khyam was rooted in gender normatives: “he a boy, he is going to be okay…” Even though I THINK these thoughts don’t affect me, today it hit me really hard to wake-up to the reality of what may or may not be occurring with my parenting style towards him – because of his gender.
For all you Limitless Moms, has there been a time where your child has taught you important lessons?